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Wikipedia

Steven Novella

Steven Paul Novella (born July 29, 1964) is an American clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. Novella is best known for his involvement in the skeptical movement. He is also a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and GWUP.

Steven Novella
Novella in 2013
Born
Steven Paul Novella

(1964-07-29)July 29, 1964 (age 57)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materGeorgetown University
Known for
Spouse(s)Jocelyn Novella
ChildrenJulia Novella
Autumn Novella
Scientific career
FieldsClinical neurology
InstitutionsYale School of Medicine
InfluencesCarl Sagan, Paul Kurtz, Stephen Jay Gould, Dean Edell, Martin Gardner, Isaac Asimov
Medical career
ProfessionNeurology
Sub-specialtiesBotulinum therapy, ALS/myasthenia gravis and neuromuscular disorders, general neurology, neurophysiology
ResearchALS, myasthenia gravis, neuropathy, and erythromelalgia
AwardsRobert P. Balles Prize for Critical Thinking
Website
Recorded in May 2015

Novella's academic specialization is in neurology, including more specifically, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), myasthenia gravis and neuromuscular disorders, neurophysiology, and the treatment of hyperactive neurological disorders.

Novella received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1991, did a year of residency in internal medicine at Georgetown University Hospital/Washington Hospital Center, completed his residency in neurology at Yale–New Haven Hospital in 1995, and was board certified in neurology in 1998.

Growing up, Novella did not always want to be a physician. In an interview for the Books and Ideas podcast he said,

I think I entertained various career ideas. When I was growing up I thought about being a lawyer for a while and then by the time I went to college, I knew I wanted to go into a science background and I did premed in undergraduate school. So certainly by then I had decided that that’s probably what I wanted to do. So I would probably say in my late teens is when I really decided to go into medicine.

There is no skepticism without science and the scientific method. It's about how we know what we know.

Steven Novella

Novella is a proponent of scientific skepticism, and defines a skeptic as:

... one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.

In response to an editorial in The New York Times in which Paul Davies concluded "until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus," Novella said,

It's not actually true because science is not dependent upon faith in a naturalistic world. It just follows the methods as if it is naturalistic... it is not a system of beliefs. People often ask me and they will ask you as skeptics what do you believe? Well, it's not about belief. Do you believe in ESP? It doesn't matter if I believe in ESP. The only thing that matters is what is the evidence for ESP? ...It's very important I think to present skepticism as a method of inquiry not a set of conclusions, not a set of beliefs.

In 1996 Novella, his brother Bob, and Perry DeAngelis founded The Connecticut Skeptical Society.

As Evan Bernstein tells it, "One night sometime in late 1995, Perry was over [at] Steve's condo, casually flipping through a copy of SI (Skeptical Inquirer). He was reading through the list of local groups, and commented to Steve: 'There's no local skeptics group in Connecticut. We should start one.'"

The group later joined with the Skeptical Inquirers of New England (SINE) and the New Hampshire Skeptical Resource to form the New England Skeptical Society (NESS). Novella currently serves as president of the NESS.

Paranormal investigations

In the early days of the New England Skeptical Society, Novella participated in investigations of various paranormal claims. Sometimes these were part of the screening process for the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation. Novella investigated such claims as Ouija boards (when the couple claiming they could operate one were properly blindfolded, their powers vanished), the ability to control the flipping of a coin (the claimant turned out to be making some common logical errors in thinking), a mind reader who got zero out of 20 correct, and many dowsers (typically found to be experiencing the Ideomotor phenomenon). Novella and the NESS also examined some phenomena described by people who were not competing for the One Million Dollar prize, such as haunted houses, the ability to communicate with the dead, and recording the voices of ghosts, known as electronic voice phenomenon, or EVP.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

Bill Nye the Science Guy, Skeptics Guide to the Universe cast, and George Hrab, April 10, 2015 at F.I.T Haft Auditorium New York City.

In May 2005, Novella started The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (SGU) podcast with his friends Perry DeAngelis and Evan Bernstein, and his brothers Bob and Jay. DeAngelis remained with the show until his death in August, 2007. In July 2006, Rebecca Watson joined the podcast as a regular, staying through December, 2014. Cara Santa Maria joined the cast in July, 2015.

Novella both hosts the show and does the editing and post-production. In an interview for the Books and Ideas podcast he said,

I am ultimately responsible for the content and prepping it and I do all the post production which I know, as you know is a lot of work. So you know, it's a good 20, 30 hours a week that I put into putting out this podcast, it is almost like having a second job. And, you know, it’s a labor of love.

When asked about the purpose of the podcast Novella said,

We deal primarily with controversial topics or topics on the fringe of science, although sometimes we do just straight up really interesting science news stories, whatever captures our interest. But we deal with the paranormal or conspiracy theories, or health fraud, consumer protection type of issues. And our goal is to give our listeners the tools to look at science in the news, science in society and have some way of navigating through all of the claims and all of the hype and basically have the tools to figure things out for themselves more than anything else.

Internet

In 2007, Novella started a blog, Neurologica, "your daily fix of neuroscience, skepticism and critical thinking", for which he writes three articles per week on a wide range of subjects generally related to science or skepticism. He is the executive editor of the blog Science-Based Medicine for which he is also a regular contributor, and he is a medical advisor to Quackwatch.

In 2008, Novella was one of the first 200 to sign the Project Steve petition, a tongue-in-cheek parody of the list of "scientists that doubt evolution" produced by creationists.

Steven Novella and Richard Saunders at TAM 13.

E-books

Novella is the editor of a series of e-books composed of articles collected from the Science-Based Medicine blog. Each book focuses mainly on one topic such as critical thinking, herbs, supplements and nutrition, chiropractic, vaccines, homeopathy, etc.

Print

Novella is an associate editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, and writes the monthly Weird Science column for the New Haven Advocate newspaper. Novella is also author to several Dungeons and Dragons campaign and expansion packs. Novella's recently published book, The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, could serve as a kind of "operations manual" for critical thinking and skepticism.

Television

Novella has appeared on several television programs, including Penn & Teller: Bullshit! s03e10: "Ghostbusters", The Dr. Oz Show, and Inside Edition.

In 2008, he filmed a pilot for a television series called The Skeptologists along with Brian Dunning, Yau-Man Chan, Mark Edward, Michael Shermer, Phil Plait, and Kirsten Sanford. The series has not been picked up by any network.[citation needed]

The Dr. Oz Show appearance

Novella appeared on The Dr. Oz Show segment, "Controversial Medicine: Why your doctor is afraid of alternative health", where he was introduced as "an outspoken critic of alternative medicine." Novella noted that the term "alternative" creates a double standard. "There should be one science-based common-sense standard to figure out what therapies work and are safe." Novella made the point that herbs are medicinals and have been used that way for thousands of years, but the problem is in re-branding them as alternative, marketing them as natural, and therefore arguing that they don't need evidence that they are safe and effective. "At the end of the day, the public was sold products that the evidence shows doesn't work."[third-party source needed]

On the subject of acupuncture, Novella stated, "I've spent a lot of time reviewing the acupuncture literature ... and the evidence overwhelmingly shows that acupuncture, in fact, doesn't work." In response to Dr. Oz's complaint that Novella is dismissive of an idea that the "way we think [about acupuncture] in the west is that it can't be possible effective." Novella replied, "I didn't say it couldn't possibly work, I said when you look at it, it doesn't work."[third-party source needed]

JREF fellows. Tim Farley, Karen Stollznow, Steven Novella and Ray Hall. Portrait taken at The Amaz!ng Meeting, TAM 9 from Outer Space, July 16, 2011
On Kylie Sturgess's podcast panel during Skeptrack at Dragon Con

Alpha Quadrant Six

In late 2017, Novella and his brothers began producing a science-fiction review show, Alpha Quadrant Six, which is archived on Facebook and YouTube. In the initial installments, the first season of the CBS All Access TV series Star Trek: Discovery was reviewed each week by live streaming the review show over Facebook immediately following each original episode's release.[third-party source needed]

Novella was the first scientist[third-party source needed] to publish and publicize an opinion and reflective evaluation of the phenomenon known as Autonomous sensory meridian response, a low grade euphoria characterized by 'a combination of positive feelings, relaxation, and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin', which typically begins 'on the scalp' before moving 'down the spine' to the base of the neck, sometimes spreading 'to the back, arms and legs as intensity increases', most commonly triggered by specific acoustic and visual stimuli including the content of some digital videos, and less commonly by intentional attentional control.

In a post on his blog Neurologica, Novella says that he always starts his investigations of such phenomena by asking whether or not 'it is real'. Regarding ASMR, Novella says 'in this case, I don't think there is a definitive answer, but I am inclined to believe that it is. There are a number of people who seem to have independently experienced and described' it with 'fairly specific details. In this way'...ASMR is similar to migraine headaches – we know they exist as a syndrome primarily because many different people report the same constellation of symptoms and natural history.' Novella tentatively posits the possibilities that ASMR might be either a type of pleasurable seizure, or another way to activate the 'pleasure response'. However, Novella draws attention to the lack of scientific investigation into ASMR, suggesting that functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation technologies should be used to study the brains of people who experience ASMR in comparison to people who do not, as a way of beginning to seek scientific understanding and explanation of the phenomenon.

Other work

Novella has created two courses for The Great Courses, "Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us" and "Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills".

In 2009, Novella was the board chairman when the Institute for Science in Medicine was founded.

In January 2010, Novella was elected as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

In 2011, Novella was appointed Senior Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation, and Director of their Science-Based medicine project.

On June 9, 2014, Edward Tobinick filed a civil action in Florida Southern District Court naming Novella, Yale University, Society for Science-Based Medicine, Inc. and SGU Productions, LLC as defendants. The main allegations of the action are that "in violation of the Lanham Act, Novella has and continues to publish a false advertisement disparaging Plaintiffs entitled 'Enbrel for Stroke and Alzheimer's', ('the 'Advertisement') and implying that the INR plaintiffs' use of etanercept is ineffective and useless;" and "The Advertisement is extremely inflammatory and defamatory in nature as it contains multiple false and misleading statements of fact regarding Plaintiffs." "The Advertisement" referred to in the action is an entry for the Science-Based Medicine blog that Novella wrote and posted on May 8, 2013.[third-party source needed]

On July 14, 2014, Novella's attorney, Marc Randazza, filed an "Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary and Preliminary Injunctive Relief". The filing states that Tobinick is "highly unlikely to prevail in this matter . . . as Defendant's statements range from provably true to opinion," that a preliminary injunction "would impose an unlawful prior restraint of speech," and that "an injunction would result in far more harm to Defendants and the public than Plaintiffs' claimed injury." Novella posted a response to the lawsuit on Science-Based Medicine in which he said, "In my opinion he [Tobinick] is using legal thuggery in an attempt to intimidate me and silence my free speech because he finds its content inconvenient".[third-party source needed]

United States District Judge Robin Rosenberg ordered the case closed on September 30, 2015, and found in judgement for Novella. Tobinick was unable to show that Novella had profited from his blog post or that it was in any way an advertisement. In 2017, a final appeal affirmed the district court's opinion.

Bob Novella, Steve Novella, Jay Novella and Evan Bernstein at DragonCon 2018, sporting Star Trek costumes.

Novella, along with some friends, owned a local live action role-playing (LARP) game for about 5 years. It was during this time that they wrote seven d20 books.

Novella has coauthored several adventure gaming books including Twin Crowns, a naval and travel expansion for Dungeons & Dragons and Broadsides!, a role-playing game (RPG) based on the d20 system. Novella also coauthored Spellbound: A Codex of Ritual Magic, which features "a complete system of magic suitable for any campaign setting" using the d20 system.

This section may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable, independent, third-party sources.(August 2021) ()
Novella leading a panel about bad science in science fiction at New York Comic Con in 2018

Novella often writes and speaks about a variety of topics in areas of alternative medicine, the new age movement, parapsychology, and pseudoscience. As a proponent of scientific skepticism, his writings generally address supporting evidence and scientific consensus. Topics addressed in his writings include:

  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine but is not based on evidence gathered using the scientific method. It consists of a wide range of health care practices, products and therapies. Novella has often said, "CAM is CAM because it is not science-based. If it were, it would not be 'alternative' medicine, it would be medicine."
  • Vaccines and autism – There is no evidence of a causal relationship between vaccinations and autism. Despite this, many parents believe that vaccinations cause autism and therefore delay or avoid immunizing their children under the "vaccine overload" hypothesis even though this hypothesis has no scientific evidence and is biologically implausible. Novella sums it up, "With regard to vaccines, the data is there, published in the peer-reviewed literature. Many professional groups have thoroughly analyzed the literature and independently concluded that vaccines are safe and effective."
  • HomeopathyHomeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, based on the doctrine that like cures like, according to which a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people. The remedies are prepared by repeatedly diluting a chosen substance in alcohol or distilled water, followed by forceful striking on an elastic body. Dilution usually continues well past the point where no molecules of the original substance remain. Novella wrote, "I would like people to be aware of the fact that homeopathy is a pre-scientific philosophy, that it is based entirely on magical thinking and is out of step with the last 200 years of science. People should know that typical homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point that no active ingredient remains, and that homeopaths invoke mysterious vibrations or implausible and highly fanciful water chemistry. I would further like people to know that clinical research with homeopathic remedies, when taken as a whole, show no effect for any such remedy."
  • AIDS denialismHIV/AIDS denialism is the belief, contradicted by conclusive medical and scientific evidence, that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Novella wrote, "Denialists are pseudoskeptics—they pretend to apply the principles of skepticism (doubt) but they are dedicated to a final conclusion, and so they twist the process to their desired outcome."
  • Near-death experience – A near-death experience (NDE) refers to personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light. In an article for ABC News, Novella is quoted as saying, "That NDEs occur is not controversial—many people report remembering experiences around the time of cardiac arrest from which they were revived. . . the question is how to interpret them. ...The burden of proof for anyone claiming that NDEs are evidence for the survival of the self beyond the physical function of the brain is to rule out other more prosaic explanations. This burden has not been met."
  • Hologram bracelets – A hologram bracelet or power bracelet is a small rubber wristband fitted with a hologram. Manufacturers have said that the holograms "optimise the natural flow of energy around the body, and so improve an athlete's strength, balance and flexibility". Appearing on an episode of the television show Inside Edition Novella was asked if he believed the claims of makers of power bracelets. He replied, "Not for a second. That is based upon nothing. That is literally made up marketing hype."
  • Intelligent design – Of creationists' world-view, Novella writes, "it is not about evidence or logic, it is about authority. The debate is framed as God's authority vs man's authority, not in terms of logic or evidence."
  • Conspiracy theories – In June 2014, Novella conducted a written debate with Michael Fullerton, "who believes that the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was not due to the official story of damage from the impact of commercial jets, but rather the result of a controlled demolition." In Novella's first response he concluded, "Michael's core logical error in making his case is depending on the claim that the towers fell in a manner that looks like controlled demolition, in that they fell fast and mostly straight down. These are not, however, features specific to controlled demolition. They would be true regardless of what initiated the collapse of such structures."
  • Post-truth – Speaking at CSIcon Las Vegas 2017, Novella described the arc of skepticism beginning with a focus on classic pseudoscience such as UFOs and psychics which evolved over time to science denialism and a rise in "alternative medicine". Novella stated that we now live in a post-truth world "where you don't have to defend your facts." He believes this can be countered by active skeptics, "You have to understand where people are coming from. You have to give them an alternative narrative."

A book written by Steve Novella and his Skeptics' Guide co-hosts about scientific skepticism was published in October 2018. The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake was reviewed by Publishers Weekly, which said: "In plain English and cogent prose, Novella makes skepticism seem mighty, necessary, and accessible all at once... Empowering and illuminating, this thinker’s paradise is an antidote to spreading anti-scientific sentiments. Readers will return to its ideas again and again." The subsections of the book, Neuropsycholological Humility, Metacognition, Science and Pseudoscience and Iconic Cautionary Tales from History, break the topic into conceptional chunks that are easy for readers with a wide range of backgrounds to digest.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's review says: "Thorough, informative, and enlightening, The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe inoculates you against the frailties and shortcomings of human cognition. If this book does not become required reading for us all, we may well see modern civilization unravel before our eyes."

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  79. Palmer, Rob (2 November 2018). "The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake, A Book Review". CSI. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved18 December 2018.
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  81. Steven Novella, Dr (2 October 2018). The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake. ISBN 978-1-5387-6053-6.
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Steven Novella
Steven Novella Language Watch Edit Steven Paul Novella born July 29 1964 is an American clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine 1 Novella is best known for his involvement in the skeptical movement He is also a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry CSI and GWUP Steven NovellaNovella in 2013BornSteven Paul Novella 1964 07 29 July 29 1964 age 57 Danbury Connecticut U S NationalityAmericanAlma materGeorgetown UniversityKnown forEditor of Science Based Medicine Host of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcastSpouse s Jocelyn NovellaChildrenJulia Novella Autumn NovellaScientific careerFieldsClinical neurologyInstitutionsYale School of MedicineInfluencesCarl Sagan Paul Kurtz Stephen Jay Gould Dean Edell Martin Gardner Isaac AsimovMedical careerProfessionNeurologySub specialtiesBotulinum therapy ALS myasthenia gravis and neuromuscular disorders general neurology neurophysiologyResearchALS myasthenia gravis neuropathy and erythromelalgiaAwardsRobert P Balles Prize for Critical ThinkingWebsitehttp theness com neurologicablog https www theskepticsguide org Novella introducing himself source source track Recorded in May 2015Professional background EditNovella s academic specialization is in neurology including more specifically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS myasthenia gravis and neuromuscular disorders neurophysiology and the treatment of hyperactive neurological disorders 1 2 Novella received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1991 did a year of residency in internal medicine at Georgetown University Hospital Washington Hospital Center completed his residency in neurology at Yale New Haven Hospital in 1995 3 and was board certified in neurology in 1998 4 Growing up Novella did not always want to be a physician In an interview for the Books and Ideas podcast he said I think I entertained various career ideas When I was growing up I thought about being a lawyer for a while and then by the time I went to college I knew I wanted to go into a science background and I did premed in undergraduate school So certainly by then I had decided that that s probably what I wanted to do So I would probably say in my late teens is when I really decided to go into medicine 5 Skepticism and critical thinking EditThere is no skepticism without science and the scientific method It s about how we know what we know Steven Novella 6 Novella is a proponent of scientific skepticism and defines a skeptic as one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims especially their own A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion 7 In response to an editorial in The New York Times in which Paul Davies concluded until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus 8 Novella said It s not actually true because science is not dependent upon faith in a naturalistic world It just follows the methods as if it is naturalistic it is not a system of beliefs People often ask me and they will ask you as skeptics what do you believe Well it s not about belief Do you believe in ESP It doesn t matter if I believe in ESP The only thing that matters is what is the evidence for ESP It s very important I think to present skepticism as a method of inquiry not a set of conclusions not a set of beliefs 9 In 1996 Novella his brother Bob and Perry DeAngelis founded The Connecticut Skeptical Society As Evan Bernstein tells it One night sometime in late 1995 Perry was over at Steve s condo casually flipping through a copy of SI Skeptical Inquirer He was reading through the list of local groups and commented to Steve There s no local skeptics group in Connecticut We should start one 10 The group later joined with the Skeptical Inquirers of New England SINE and the New Hampshire Skeptical Resource to form the New England Skeptical Society NESS Novella currently serves as president of the NESS 11 Paranormal investigations Edit In the early days of the New England Skeptical Society Novella participated in investigations of various paranormal claims Sometimes these were part of the screening process for the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation Novella investigated such claims as Ouija boards when the couple claiming they could operate one were properly blindfolded their powers vanished the ability to control the flipping of a coin the claimant turned out to be making some common logical errors in thinking a mind reader who got zero out of 20 correct and many dowsers typically found to be experiencing the Ideomotor phenomenon Novella and the NESS also examined some phenomena described by people who were not competing for the One Million Dollar prize such as haunted houses the ability to communicate with the dead and recording the voices of ghosts known as electronic voice phenomenon or EVP 12 The Skeptics Guide to the Universe Edit Main article The Skeptics Guide to the Universe Bill Nye the Science Guy Skeptics Guide to the Universe cast and George Hrab April 10 2015 at F I T Haft Auditorium New York City In May 2005 Novella started The Skeptics Guide to the Universe SGU podcast with his friends Perry DeAngelis and Evan Bernstein and his brothers Bob and Jay DeAngelis remained with the show until his death in August 2007 In July 2006 Rebecca Watson joined the podcast as a regular staying through December 2014 Cara Santa Maria joined the cast in July 2015 Novella both hosts the show and does the editing and post production In an interview for the Books and Ideas podcast he said I am ultimately responsible for the content and prepping it and I do all the post production which I know as you know is a lot of work So you know it s a good 20 30 hours a week that I put into putting out this podcast it is almost like having a second job And you know it s a labor of love 5 When asked about the purpose of the podcast Novella said We deal primarily with controversial topics or topics on the fringe of science although sometimes we do just straight up really interesting science news stories whatever captures our interest But we deal with the paranormal or conspiracy theories or health fraud consumer protection type of issues And our goal is to give our listeners the tools to look at science in the news science in society and have some way of navigating through all of the claims and all of the hype and basically have the tools to figure things out for themselves more than anything else 5 Internet Edit In 2007 Novella started a blog Neurologica your daily fix of neuroscience skepticism and critical thinking 13 for which he writes three articles per week on a wide range of subjects generally related to science or skepticism He is the executive editor of the blog Science Based Medicine 14 for which he is also a regular contributor and he is a medical advisor to Quackwatch 15 In 2008 Novella was one of the first 200 to sign the Project Steve petition 16 a tongue in cheek parody of the list of scientists that doubt evolution produced by creationists Steven Novella and Richard Saunders at TAM 13 E books Edit Novella is the editor of a series of e books composed of articles collected from the Science Based Medicine blog 17 Each book focuses mainly on one topic such as critical thinking herbs supplements and nutrition chiropractic vaccines homeopathy etc Print Edit Novella is an associate editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine 18 and writes the monthly Weird Science column for the New Haven Advocate newspaper Novella is also author to several Dungeons and Dragons campaign and expansion packs 19 20 21 Novella s recently published book The Skeptics Guide to the Universe could serve as a kind of operations manual for critical thinking and skepticism 22 Television Edit Novella has appeared on several television programs including Penn amp Teller Bullshit s03e10 Ghostbusters The Dr Oz Show 23 and Inside Edition 24 In 2008 he filmed a pilot for a television series called The Skeptologists 25 along with Brian Dunning Yau Man Chan Mark Edward Michael Shermer Phil Plait and Kirsten Sanford The series has not been picked up by any network citation needed The Dr Oz Show appearance Edit Novella appeared on The Dr Oz Show segment Controversial Medicine Why your doctor is afraid of alternative health where he was introduced as an outspoken critic of alternative medicine Novella noted that the term alternative creates a double standard There should be one science based common sense standard to figure out what therapies work and are safe Novella made the point that herbs are medicinals and have been used that way for thousands of years but the problem is in re branding them as alternative marketing them as natural and therefore arguing that they don t need evidence that they are safe and effective At the end of the day the public was sold products that the evidence shows doesn t work third party source needed On the subject of acupuncture Novella stated I ve spent a lot of time reviewing the acupuncture literature and the evidence overwhelmingly shows that acupuncture in fact doesn t work In response to Dr Oz s complaint that Novella is dismissive of an idea that the way we think about acupuncture in the west is that it can t be possible effective Novella replied I didn t say it couldn t possibly work I said when you look at it it doesn t work 23 third party source needed JREF fellows Tim Farley Karen Stollznow Steven Novella and Ray Hall Portrait taken at The Amaz ng Meeting TAM 9 from Outer Space July 16 2011 On Kylie Sturgess s podcast panel during Skeptrack at Dragon Con Alpha Quadrant Six Edit In late 2017 Novella and his brothers began producing a science fiction review show Alpha Quadrant Six which is archived on Facebook and YouTube In the initial installments the first season of the CBS All Access TV series Star Trek Discovery was reviewed each week by live streaming the review show over Facebook immediately following each original episode s release 26 27 third party source needed Autonomous sensory meridian response EditNovella was the first scientist third party source needed to publish and publicize an opinion and reflective evaluation of the phenomenon known as Autonomous sensory meridian response 28 29 a low grade euphoria characterized by a combination of positive feelings relaxation and a distinct static like tingling sensation on the skin which typically begins on the scalp before moving down the spine to the base of the neck sometimes spreading to the back arms and legs as intensity increases most commonly triggered by specific acoustic and visual stimuli including the content of some digital videos and less commonly by intentional attentional control 30 31 In a post on his blog Neurologica Novella says that he always starts his investigations of such phenomena by asking whether or not it is real Regarding ASMR Novella says in this case I don t think there is a definitive answer but I am inclined to believe that it is There are a number of people who seem to have independently experienced and described it with fairly specific details In this way ASMR is similar to migraine headaches we know they exist as a syndrome primarily because many different people report the same constellation of symptoms and natural history Novella tentatively posits the possibilities that ASMR might be either a type of pleasurable seizure or another way to activate the pleasure response However Novella draws attention to the lack of scientific investigation into ASMR suggesting that functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation technologies should be used to study the brains of people who experience ASMR in comparison to people who do not as a way of beginning to seek scientific understanding and explanation of the phenomenon 29 32 Other work Edit Novella has created two courses for The Great Courses Medical Myths Lies and Half Truths What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us 33 and Your Deceptive Mind A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills 34 In 2009 Novella was the board chairman when the Institute for Science in Medicine was founded 35 In January 2010 Novella was elected as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry 36 In 2011 Novella was appointed Senior Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation and Director of their Science Based medicine project 37 Tobinick lawsuit EditOn June 9 2014 Edward Tobinick filed a civil action in Florida Southern District Court naming Novella Yale University Society for Science Based Medicine Inc and SGU Productions LLC as defendants 38 The main allegations of the action are that in violation of the Lanham Act Novella has and continues to publish a false advertisement disparaging Plaintiffs entitled Enbrel for Stroke and Alzheimer s the Advertisement and implying that the INR plaintiffs use of etanercept is ineffective and useless and The Advertisement is extremely inflammatory and defamatory in nature as it contains multiple false and misleading statements of fact regarding Plaintiffs The Advertisement referred to in the action is an entry for the Science Based Medicine blog that Novella wrote and posted on May 8 2013 39 third party source needed On July 14 2014 Novella s attorney Marc Randazza filed an Opposition to Plaintiff s Motion for Temporary and Preliminary Injunctive Relief 40 The filing states that Tobinick is highly unlikely to prevail in this matter as Defendant s statements range from provably true to opinion that a preliminary injunction would impose an unlawful prior restraint of speech and that an injunction would result in far more harm to Defendants and the public than Plaintiffs claimed injury Novella posted a response to the lawsuit on Science Based Medicine in which he said In my opinion he Tobinick is using legal thuggery in an attempt to intimidate me and silence my free speech because he finds its content inconvenient 41 third party source needed United States District Judge Robin Rosenberg ordered the case closed on September 30 2015 and found in judgement for Novella Tobinick was unable to show that Novella had profited from his blog post or that it was in any way an advertisement 42 In 2017 a final appeal affirmed the district court s opinion 43 Adventure and role playing games Edit Bob Novella Steve Novella Jay Novella and Evan Bernstein at DragonCon 2018 sporting Star Trek costumes Novella along with some friends owned a local live action role playing LARP game for about 5 years It was during this time that they wrote seven d20 books 44 Novella has coauthored several adventure gaming books including Twin Crowns 20 a naval and travel expansion for Dungeons amp Dragons and Broadsides a role playing game RPG based on the d20 system 19 Novella also coauthored Spellbound A Codex of Ritual Magic which features a complete system of magic suitable for any campaign setting using the d20 system 21 Awards EditIn 2010 the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry CSICOP awarded Novella the Robert P Balles Prize for Critical Thinking for his body of work including The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast Science Based Medicine Neurologica Skepticial Inquirer column The Science of Medicine and the tireless travel and lecture schedule on behalf of skepticism The truly most amazing thing is he does this all on a volunteer basis 45 According to Barry Karr You may be the hardest worker in all of skepticism 46 In 2019 Novella became a Fellow for the German Skeptic group Gesellschaft zur wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften GWUP 47 Topics of interest EditThis section may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable independent third party sources August 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message Novella leading a panel about bad science in science fiction at New York Comic Con in 2018 Novella often writes and speaks about a variety of topics in areas of alternative medicine the new age movement parapsychology and pseudoscience As a proponent of scientific skepticism his writings generally address supporting evidence and scientific consensus Topics addressed in his writings include Complementary and alternative medicine CAM 48 Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine but is not based on evidence gathered using the scientific method It consists of a wide range of health care practices products and therapies 49 Novella has often said CAM is CAM because it is not science based If it were it would not be alternative medicine it would be medicine 50 Vaccines and autism 51 There is no evidence of a causal relationship between vaccinations and autism 52 53 Despite this many parents believe that vaccinations cause autism and therefore delay or avoid immunizing their children under the vaccine overload hypothesis 54 even though this hypothesis has no scientific evidence and is biologically implausible 55 Novella sums it up With regard to vaccines the data is there published in the peer reviewed literature Many professional groups have thoroughly analyzed the literature and independently concluded that vaccines are safe and effective 56 Homeopathy 57 Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann based on the doctrine that like cures like according to which a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people 58 The remedies are prepared by repeatedly diluting a chosen substance in alcohol or distilled water followed by forceful striking on an elastic body Dilution usually continues well past the point where no molecules of the original substance remain 59 Novella wrote I would like people to be aware of the fact that homeopathy is a pre scientific philosophy that it is based entirely on magical thinking and is out of step with the last 200 years of science People should know that typical homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point that no active ingredient remains and that homeopaths invoke mysterious vibrations or implausible and highly fanciful water chemistry I would further like people to know that clinical research with homeopathic remedies when taken as a whole show no effect for any such remedy 60 AIDS denialism 61 HIV AIDS denialism is the belief contradicted by conclusive medical and scientific evidence 62 63 that human immunodeficiency virus HIV does not cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDS Novella wrote Denialists are pseudoskeptics they pretend to apply the principles of skepticism doubt but they are dedicated to a final conclusion and so they twist the process to their desired outcome 64 Near death experience A near death experience NDE refers to personal experiences associated with impending death encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body feelings of levitation total serenity security warmth the experience of absolute dissolution and the presence of a light In an article for ABC News Novella is quoted as saying That NDEs occur is not controversial many people report remembering experiences around the time of cardiac arrest from which they were revived the question is how to interpret them The burden of proof for anyone claiming that NDEs are evidence for the survival of the self beyond the physical function of the brain is to rule out other more prosaic explanations This burden has not been met 65 Hologram bracelets A hologram bracelet or power bracelet is a small rubber wristband fitted with a hologram Manufacturers have said that the holograms optimise the natural flow of energy around the body and so improve an athlete s strength balance and flexibility 66 Appearing on an episode of the television show Inside Edition Novella was asked if he believed the claims of makers of power bracelets He replied Not for a second That is based upon nothing That is literally made up marketing hype 24 Intelligent design 67 Of creationists world view Novella writes it is not about evidence or logic it is about authority The debate is framed as God s authority vs man s authority not in terms of logic or evidence 68 Conspiracy theories 69 In June 2014 Novella conducted a written debate with Michael Fullerton who believes that the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9 11 was not due to the official story of damage from the impact of commercial jets but rather the result of a controlled demolition 70 In Novella s first response he concluded Michael s core logical error in making his case is depending on the claim that the towers fell in a manner that looks like controlled demolition in that they fell fast and mostly straight down These are not however features specific to controlled demolition They would be true regardless of what initiated the collapse of such structures 71 Post truth Speaking at CSIcon Las Vegas 2017 Novella described the arc of skepticism beginning with a focus on classic pseudoscience such as UFOs and psychics which evolved over time to science denialism and a rise in alternative medicine Novella stated that we now live in a post truth world where you don t have to defend your facts He believes this can be countered by active skeptics You have to understand where people are coming from You have to give them an alternative narrative 72 Organizational affiliations EditPresident of the New England Skeptical Society 73 Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry 74 Member of the executive committee of NECSS 75 Member of the Board and Officers of the Society for Science Based Medicine 76 Member of the Faculty and Staff Board Of Advisers of the Yale Humanist Community 77 Bibliography EditMain article The Skeptics Guide to the Universe book A book written by Steve Novella and his Skeptics Guide co hosts about scientific skepticism was published in October 2018 The Skeptics Guide to the Universe How to Know What s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake was reviewed by Publishers Weekly which said In plain English and cogent prose Novella makes skepticism seem mighty necessary and accessible all at once Empowering and illuminating this thinker s paradise is an antidote to spreading anti scientific sentiments Readers will return to its ideas again and again 78 The subsections of the book Neuropsycholological Humility Metacognition Science and Pseudoscience and Iconic Cautionary Tales from History break the topic into conceptional chunks that are easy for readers with a wide range of backgrounds to digest 79 Neil deGrasse Tyson s review says Thorough informative and enlightening The Skeptics Guide to the Universe inoculates you against the frailties and shortcomings of human cognition If this book does not become required reading for us all we may well see modern civilization unravel before our eyes 80 81 References Edit a b Yale Medical Group Yale School of Medicine Retrieved 2014 05 22 Novella SP Hisama FM Dib Hajj SD Waxman SG April 2007 About the authors A case of inherited erythromelalgia Nature Clinical Practice Neurology 3 4 229 234 doi 10 1038 ncpneuro0425 PMID 17410110 S2CID 7017831 Retrieved 2014 05 22 Dr Steven P Novella MD U S News amp World Report LP Retrieved 2014 05 22 Yale Neurology Yale School of Medicine Retrieved 2015 09 20 a b c Campbell Ginger Interview with Dr Steven Novella from The Skeptics Guide to the Universe PDF Books and Ideas Pods in Print Retrieved 2014 05 22 Sturgess Kylie 30 August 2012 Dr Steven Novella On Scientific Skepticism And Activism NYC Skeptics Patheos Patheos Retrieved 2 July 2014 Skepticblog Skeptic the Name Thing Again Davies Paul 24 November 2007 Taking Science on Faith The New York Times Retrieved 30 May 2014 Sturgess Kylie 30 August 2012 Token Skeptic Patheos Patheos Retrieved 30 May 2014 Bernstein Evan Remembering Perry DeAngelis Today The Rogues Gallery The Rogues Gallery Retrieved 22 May 2014 The Ness About Us The Ness 15 June 2009 Retrieved 10 June 2014 Weaver Jacqueline Skeptical neurologist works to separate science from sham Yale Bulletin amp Calendar October 7 2005 Retrieved 18 October 2019 Neurologica Blog http theness com neurologicablog Science Based Medicine Editors Science Based Medicine 18 August 2009 Retrieved 2009 11 15 Quackwatch Scientific and Technical Advisors Medical Advisors Quackwatch Archived from the original on 2010 04 13 Retrieved 2009 11 15 The List of Steves NCSE The National Center for Science Education Retrieved 2 July 2014 Books by Steven Novella goodreads com Retrieved 8 October 2015 Quackwatch Publications for Sale The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine Quackwatch 15 August 2002 Retrieved 2009 11 15 a b Faugno John Harald Henning Inger Henning Steven Novella Evan Bernstein Joseph Unfried Celeste DeAngelis 2002 02 26 Broadsides d20 LII1500 Living Imagination ISBN 978 0 9712145 2 1 a b Novella Steven John Faugno 2001 11 20 Twin Crowns Age of Exploration Living Imagination ISBN 978 0 9712145 0 7 a b Novella Steven John Faugno 2003 Spellbound a codex of ritual magic Living Imagination ISBN 978 0 9712145 4 5 Rob Palmer 2 November 2018 The Skeptics Guide to the Universe A Book Review CFI A program of the Center for Inquiry Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Retrieved 6 December 2018 a b Controversial Medicine Alternative Health Pt 1 The Dr Oz Show Harpo Inc 26 April 2011 Retrieved 23 May 2014 a b INSIDE EDITION Investigates Power Bracelets INSIDE edition Inside Edition Inc 24 February 2011 Retrieved 23 May 2014 TV Series The Skeptologists Skeptologists Skeptologist Partners with New Rule Productions Retrieved 2 July 2014 Alpha Quadrant 6 FaceBook home Facebook com Steven Novella Retrieved 11 March 2018 Alpha Quadrant 6 Playlist Youtube com The Skeptics Guide Retrieved 11 March 2018 Novella Steven 12 March 2012 ASMR Neurologica Blog New England Skeptical Society Retrieved 31 December 2015 a b Novella Steven 12 March 2012 ASMR Skeptic Blog Retrieved 31 December 2015 Barrat E Davis N 2015 Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response ASMR a flow like mental state PeerJ 3 e851 doi 10 7717 peerj 851 PMC 4380153 PMID 25834771 Ahuja NK 2013 It feels good to be measured clinical role play Walker Percy and the tingles Perspect Biol Med 56 3 442 51 doi 10 1353 pbm 2013 0022 PMID 24375123 S2CID 43492129 Novella Steven 12 March 2012 ASMR Neurologica Blog New England Skeptical Society Retrieved 31 December 2015 Medical Myths Lies and Half Truths Medical Myths Lies and Half Truths What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us Archived from the original on July 14 2014 Retrieved July 2 2014 Your Deceptive Mind http www thegreatcourses com tgc courses course detail aspx cid 9344 Our Fellows Science in Medicine Institute for Science in Medicine Retrieved 2 July 2014 Sixteen Notable Figures in Science and Skepticism Elected CSI Fellows 12 January 2010 Retrieved 2011 08 07 JREF Appoints Dr Steven Novella as Senior Fellow James Randi Educational Foundation Retrieved 25 June 2014 Edward Lewis Tobinick MD et al v Novella et al Justia June 9 2014 Retrieved 25 July 2014 Novella Steven May 8 2013 Enbrel for Stroke and Alzheimer s Science Based Medicine Retrieved 24 July 2014 Novella Response Retrieved 27 July 2014 Novella Steven July 23 2014 Another Lawsuit To Suppress Legitimate Criticism This Time SBM Science Based Medicine Retrieved 24 July 2014 Cushing Tim October 5 2015 Court Hands Loss To Doctor Who Sued Over Blog Posts Criticizing His Questionable Alzheimer s Treatments Tech Dirt Retrieved 6 October 2015 Cushing Tim February 22 2018 Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint Tech Dirt Retrieved 1 October 2018 Derek Colanduno April 21 2015 A Skepticality Guide To The Universe Skepticality Podcast Retrieved April 24 2015 CSI Awards Balles Prize Skeptical Inquirer CSICOP 13 June 2011 Retrieved 19 August 2016 Lavarnway Julia CSICon New Orleans 2011 Where Meeting Awesome Skeptics Is As Easy As Saying Hello Skeptical Inquirer CSICOP Retrieved 19 August 2016 Honors to Fraknoi Vyse Other CSI Fellows Skeptical Inquirer Committee for Skeptical Inquiry 43 6 8 2019 Misinformation from Mayo Clinic Neurologica Blog 24 September 2013 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration Office of Policy and Planning Office of the Commissioner Food and Drug Administration FDA Dept of Health and Human Services US Government 2007 This article incorporates text from this source which is in the public domain CAM Research Be Careful What You Wish For Neurologica Blog 4 October 2013 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Vaccines and Autism The Anti Vaccine Environmentalist skepticblog Retrieved 2014 05 26 One Vaccine One Ingredient and Anti Vax Talking Points Neurologica Blog 27 October 2009 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Another Study Showing Lack of Correlation Between Mercury and Autism Neurologica Blog 21 October 2009 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Pockets of Vaccine Noncompliance in California Science Based Medicine April 2009 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Terrible Anti Vaccine Study Terrible Reporting Neurologica Blog 16 July 2010 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Fombonne E Zakarian R Bennett A Meng L McLean Heywood D July 2006 Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal Quebec Canada prevalence and links with immunizations Pediatrics 118 1 e139 50 doi 10 1542 peds 2005 2993 PMID 16818529 S2CID 17981294 CS1 maint multiple names authors list link CS1 maint date and year link Gross L 2009 A broken trust lessons from the vaccine autism wars PLOS Biol 7 5 e1000114 doi 10 1371 journal pbio 1000114 PMC 2682483 PMID 19478850 Hilton S Petticrew M Hunt K 2006 Combined vaccines are like a sudden onslaught to the body s immune system parental concerns about vaccine overload and immune vulnerability Vaccine 24 20 4321 7 doi 10 1016 j vaccine 2006 03 003 PMID 16581162 CS1 maint multiple names authors list link Gerber JS Offit PA 2009 Vaccines and autism a tale of shifting hypotheses Clin Infect Dis Review 48 4 456 61 doi 10 1086 596476 PMC 2908388 PMID 19128068 Lay summary IDSA 2009 01 30 What Is an Antivaxer Science Based Medicine 28 December 2011 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Homeopathy Novella S Roy R Marcus D Bell IR Davidovitch N Saine A 2008 A debate homeopathy quackery or a key to the future of medicine J Altern Complement Med 14 1 9 15 doi 10 1089 acm 2007 0770 PMID 18199017 Gold PW Novella S Roy R Marcus D Bell I Davidovitch N Saine A 2008 Homeopathy quackery or a key to the future of medicine Homeopathy 97 1 28 33 doi 10 1016 j homp 2007 12 002 PMID 18194763 Hahnemann Samuel 1833 The Homœopathic Medical Doctrine or Organon of the Healing Art Dublin W F Wakeman pp iii 48 49 Dynamization and Dilution Complementary and Alternative Medicine Creighton University Department of Pharmacology archived from the original on 2002 08 26 retrieved 2009 03 24 Homeopathy Awareness Week Neurologica Blog 15 June 2009 Retrieved 7 June 2014 Smith TC Novella SP 2007 HIV Denial in the Internet Era PLOS Med 4 8 e256 doi 10 1371 journal pmed 0040256 PMC 1949841 PMID 17713982 Institute of Medicine US Committee for the Oversight of AIDS Activities 1988 Confronting AIDS Update 1988 Institute of Medicine of the U S National Academy of Sciences doi 10 17226 771 ISBN 978 0 309 03879 9 PMID 25032454 the evidence that HIV causes AIDS is scientifically conclusive The Evidence that HIV Causes AIDS National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease 4 September 2009 Retrieved 14 October 2009 HIV Denier Christine Maggiore Dies Neurologica Blog January 2009 Retrieved 24 June 2014 Heussner Ki Mae Scientists Study Out of Body Experiences abc News ABC News Internet Ventures Retrieved 2014 05 23 Power Balance bracelets source of energy or just a gimmick Daily Telegraph 15 October 2010 Retrieved 26 July 2011 Intelligent design Are Evolution and Creationism Compatible Neurologica Blog 2 April 2012 Retrieved 2014 06 24 Kansas Citizens Sue to Reject Science Neurologica Blog 8 October 2013 Retrieved 2014 05 26 New Creationist Documentary Same Old Nonsense Neurologica Blog 19 June 2014 Retrieved 2014 06 24 Questions from the Nye Ham Debate Neurologica Blog 7 February 2014 Retrieved 24 June 2014 Creationism is Not Science Neurologica Blog 20 August 2013 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Conspiracy theories Answering Conspiracy Theorists Neurologica Blog 4 April 2014 Retrieved 2014 05 26 Conspiracy Thinking Neurologica Blog 13 August 2012 Retrieved 2014 05 26 9 11 Conspiracy Debate Part I Neurologica Blog 16 June 2014 Retrieved 24 June 2014 9 11 Conspiracy Debate Part II Neurologica Blog 23 June 2014 Retrieved 24 June 2014 Frazier Kendrick March 2018 CSIcon Las Vegas 2017 Conference Report www csicop org Retrieved 2018 05 31 About Us the NESS 15 June 2009 Fellows and Staff Skeptical Inquirer 3 April 2019 NECSS and Richard Dawkins 30 January 2016 Bios Society for Science Based Medicine https yalehumanists com about faculty board of advisers Review The Skeptics Guide to the Universe How to Know What s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake Publishersweekly com Publishers Weekly 10 September 2018 Retrieved 8 October 2018 Palmer Rob 2 November 2018 The Skeptics Guide to the Universe How to Know What s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake A Book Review CSI Center for Inquiry Retrieved 18 December 2018 The Skeptics Guide to the Universe How To Know What s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake Hachette com au Hachette Retrieved 8 October 2018 Steven Novella Dr 2 October 2018 The Skeptics Guide to the Universe How to Know What s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake ISBN 978 1 5387 6053 6 External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Steven Novella Wikiquote has quotations related to Steven NovellaProfile at NeuroLogica Blog Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Steven Novella amp oldid 1051096748, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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